Spanish tennis superstar Rafael Nadal acknowledged that the final he played against Stefanos Tsitsipas was the toughest final he has played at the Barcelona Open. Nadal, who was seeded at No. 1 in the Barcelona main draw, survived a tight clash against second-seeded Tsitsipas as he won 6-4 6-7 (6) 7-5.
Nadal saved a match point on his serve in the 10th game of the third set, before claiming the key break a game later. Nadal, a record 20-time Grand Slam champion, now has 12 Barcelona Open titles in his collection. "I think I never played a final like this in this tournament, so it means a lot to me against a player like him, [after what] he achieved in Monte-Carlo and [that he reached] the final here without losing a set," Nadal said, per the ATP website.
"It is an important victory for me. I think I have been increasing my level during the whole week and this victory confirms it. That's important for today. "To have the trophy with me here at home means a lot, but at the same time for the future."
Nadal lost three sets en route to winning Barcelona
For the first time in his career, Nadal dropped more than one set en route to winning it all on the clay of Barcelona. "It's about accepting the challenge," Nadal said.
"It is about being humble enough to accept that sometimes you are not playing that well and you need to fight for it and you need to try to find solutions every day. That's what I did." Returning to Barcelona and winning it all meant a lot to Nadal.
"For me, the simple fact of being able to play in Barcelona after last year's tournament wasn't held means a lot to me," Nadal told the crowd during the trophy ceremony. "After almost a year of not being able to experience playing in front of a crowd, these are incredible feelings.
I really appreciate the love and support you all have shown me throughout my career. Playing in my club and in front of fans means a lot." A week earlier, Nadal lost in the Monte Carlo Masters quarterfinal. "I think I have room to keep improving.
It was not perfect. I really believe that I can play better than what I am doing on clay, and I hope that the victory today is going to help me raise the level that I need going forward to the next couple of events moving forward," Nadal added.